Dr. Dennis Wiitanen Honored with Legacy Marker

IMG_2575denniswiitanenThe unveiling of the first Legacy Marker for Alumni Way was held in front of the EERC. The Legacy Marker serves to honor someone associated with Michigan Tech, and it was unveiled and presented as a surprise to the Dennis O. Wiitanen, Professor Emeritus, Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Dennis O. Wiitanen received the B.S. and M.S. degrees from Michigan Tech in 1963 and 1967 respectively, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1970, all in electrical engineering.

In 1970, he joined the electrical and computer engineering department at Michigan Tech, where his major research interests were in the areas of insulating materials and power systems. Dr. Wiitanen taught courses in both electric machines and power systems for over forty years. He is currently a Professor Emeritus.

Dr. Wiitanen is a member of the IEEE’s Power Engineering Society, Education Society, Industry Applications Society, and Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society, serving on several committees and subcommittees, and is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Michigan.

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Dennis Wiitanen Legacy Monument
Dennis Wiitanen Legacy Monument

ECE Announces 2014 Graduate Student Awards

Zagros Shahooei receives the 2014 Jonathan Bara Award for Outstanding GTA presented by ECE Chair Dan Fuhrmann
Zagros Shahooei receives the 2014 Jonathan Bara Award for Outstanding GTA presented by ECE Chair Dan Fuhrmann

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering announced its selection of the 2014 graduate student awards at the annual ECE Graduate Student and External Advisory Committee Banquet held on Thursday evening, October 2, in the Memorial Union Building Ballroom. Each year a nomination and selection process is conducted by the ECE faculty to identify an outstanding graduate teaching assistant (GTA) and graduate research assistant (GRA). This year’s award recipients are Zagros Shahooei, Jonathan Bara Outstanding GTA, and Xiaohui Wang, Matt Wolfe Outstanding GRA.

PhD student Zagros Shahooei was honored for his enthusiasm, and working relationship with the students as evident by his high teaching evaluations. In the Fall of 2013, he was recognized as one of the top GTAs campus-wide when the Graduate School awarded him with an Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award. During this time he carried a heavy course load, completing 30 credits of coursework while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. He also prepared for and successfully passed the PhD qualifier, and initiated his PhD research.

He has been effective at teaching a broad set of topics and lab skills at course levels from 2000 to 5000, and to ECE majors and non-majors alike. In the process, he learned and taught the following software packages: PSPICE, LabView, Eagle PCB Design, MultiSim, Matlab Simulink, ASPEN, SEL AcSELerator, ATP, and Doble Power Suite.

Zagros did a particularly outstanding job in EE5224, teaching 4 sections of a graduate-level lab that requires a great deal of preparation of lab software, hardware, and prelab guidance of the students. Based on his knowledge and demonstrated capabilities, he was chosen to participate in an international education and research exchange project at NTNU, in Trondheim, Norway from February through June of this year. The project is funded by the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education. Zagros shared the knowledge, best practices, and experience gained from teaching EE5224, assisted his hosts in designing and developing power system protection laboratory capabilities in support of graduate research projects, helped to advise and support two masters students in their projects, and contributed to research proposal writing. The expected outcome is to increase collaborative possibilities for research and exchange opportunities between Michigan Tech and NTNU. At the same time, he was developing his own PhD research proposal in the area of power system protection. He is now back at MTU continuing his progress toward PhD. Mr. Shahooei’s advisor is Dr. Bruce Mork.

xiaohui, wang_photo
Xiaohui Wang, PhD, 2014 Matt Wolfe Outstanding GRA

Xiaohui Wang received his degree PhD in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech in April 2014. He is honored as a truly exceptional graduate research assistant during his time at Michigan Tech.

Xiaohui began his PhD candidacy under the direction of his advisor Dr. Elena Semouchkina in Spring 2010, working on his dissertation entitled “Experimental and Computational Studies of Electromagnetic Cloaking at Microwaves”. Xiaohui’s research was featured in the Frontiers of Engineering Physics for his work on the development of novel metamaterials and invisibility cloaks. His outstanding work has demonstrated the feasibility of metamaterial cloaking devices via simulations and experiments on prototype cloaks at microwave frequencies. This cutting edge research is bringing distinction to Michigan Tech. In particular, the work on cloaking is currently featured on the NSF “Discoveries” website: http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/index.jsp?pims_id=13381&org=NSF

These findings were published in two 2013 Letter papers with Dr. Wang as the first author, one in the IEEE Microwave and Wireless Component Letters (MWCL) and another in the Applied Physics Letters, have been featured in two “First Bell” ASSE’s newsletters under “Higher Education”: http://mailview.custombriefings.com/mailview.aspx?m=2013032701asee&r=4154459-d0d6http://mailview.custombriefings.com/mailview.aspx?m=2013020501asee&r=2865525-b08b

This work has also inspired a question on the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” asking the contestant, ”What item are scientists at Michigan Technological University trying to build by capturing rays of light and routing them around objects?”.

Overall, Dr. Wang has authored and co-authored 5 published journal papers. His 5th paper published in the American Institute of Physics Advances (AIP Advances) in December 2013 develops a 3D spherical invisibility cloak, in addition to previously developed 2D cylindrical cloaks. The 6th paper, which he co-authored and submitted in summer 2014, is currently under review in the Journal of Applied Physics. He has also authored and co-authored 8 published refereed conference proceedings and two oral presentations at the IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation.

In recognition of the high quality of his work, his conference paper “Electromagnetic Cloaking by Using Multilayer Dielectric Coating” submitted to the 2013 IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation was selected as Honorable Mention at the Best Student Paper Competition. The award included a $1000 stipend to attend and present his work at the Symposium in Orlando, Florida in July 2013. He was also invited to serve as the Session Chair, which is an exceptional honor for a graduate student.

In addition to Dr. Wang’s academic and research success, he was an invaluable contributor to establishing the new “Microwave Characterization Lab” in the Electrical Energy Resources Center (EERC), home to the ECE Department, where he has assembled equipment for full characterization of materials, metamaterials, and devices at frequencies up to 20 GHz and help to renovate the adjacent anechoic chamber, replacing the old microwave absorbers.

Xiaohui is currently an intern with Delphi in Kokomo, Indiana, and will begin his full-time position with the company in January 2015.

For more information please see Jonathan Bara Award for GTA and Matt Wolfe Award for Outstanding GRA.

 

Nucor Industrial Control and Automation Lab Opens

Nucor_3

A ceremony was held Monday to celebrate completion of the new Nucor Industrial Control and Automation Laboratory in the Electrical Energy Resources Center. The state-of-the-art facility was made possible by a $255,000 gift from Nucor Corporation, the largest manufacturer of steel products in North America.

The laboratory is a collaborative effort of Electrical Engineering Technology in the School of Technology and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering. It is an example of cooperation within Michigan Tech’s new Alliance for Computing, Information and Automation (ACIA), which combines common interests among established academic units to better equip future graduates and to align research activities with contemporary technological challenges.

The laboratory consists of eight portable Amatrol Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) Learning Systems, equipped with Allen-Bradley CompactLogix 5300 PLCs and Human Machine Interface (HMI). These trainers enhance the teaching of PLC concepts and HMI programming using the latest generation of PLCs. The new technology also includes a fluid flow Process Control Learning System equipped with a Honeywell PID controller and four mechatronic stations fully integrated with a Fanuc Robotics System, enabling teaching of advanced concepts of PLC programming and overall system troubleshooting skills.

PLCs are an integral part of nearly all industrial processes today. A PLC is a digital computer used for the automation of a variety of electromechanical processes, including temperature ranges, immunity to electrical noise and resistance to vibration and impact. PLCs are often integrated with robotic technology.

“Graduates who will be employed in industries utilizing these systems must not only have basic knowledge of PLCs and robotics, but also the skills to integrate these systems,” said Jim Frendewey, dean of the School of Technology. “The knowledge and experience students receive will produce well-educated graduates with practical, hands-on experience designing, configuring and troubleshooting industrial control systems.”

Dan Fuhrmann, chair of electrical and computer engineering, said, “Knowledge and experience in control systems has been the single most sought-after skill set from our corporate recruiters looking to hire electrical engineering graduates, for the past several years. With the Nucor Laboratory we will take a major step forward in meeting the demands of industry and open up opportunities for our students.”

President Glenn Mroz emphasized the importance of the new lab as he spoke to those in attendance at the ceremony. “Michigan’s economy has gone from one of the worst to 16th for growth among the states in a very short time,” he said. ”We’re now in a renaissance in manufacturing, and the people graduating today have the knowledge and skills because of companies like Nucor who have made substantial investments in the education of Michigan Tech students. We realize that this represents a commitment both by Nucor and our faculty and staff that only comes about when people have a clear bead on priorities. We’re thankful to Nucor for helping our students have the best.”

Kurt Kalenauskas, an electrical engineering technology senior, said he is “jealous of the new students who get to learn and work with the equipment and technology the Nucor laboratory has to offer.”

Nucor has an established relationship with Michigan Tech that began in 2008, when the company sent two representatives to a Career Fair. They were so impressed that they asked Career Services how Nucor could help Michigan Tech help its students.  Since then, the company has become a Career Services Gold Partner, providing financial support and sending several representatives to campus before each Career Fair to work directly with students on interview and resume preparation.

“Nucor recruits technical talent and future leaders at Michigan Tech because Tech graduates have proven to be successful Nucor teammates,” said Dave Davolt, electrical supervisor at the company. “Nucor’s relationship and involvement with Michigan Tech has grown stronger over the years. This is evident with Nucor’s investment in technology relevant to today’s manufacturing industry. With these investments and partnerships, Nucor hopes to better equip students for postgraduation opportunities, which we hope they seek with Nucor. “

Aleksandr Sergeyev, an associate professor in the School of Technology with a special interest in robotics, will head the new laboratory, with faculty from both Electrical Engineering Technology and Electrical and Computer Engineering teaching there. Hundreds of students each year will participate in laboratory activities, and those numbers are expected to grow with future development of new advanced courses made possible by the capabilities of the lab.

Seminar: Instrumenting the Human Body

sep22Seminar presentation jointly sponsored by Michigan Technological University’s College of Engineering and the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering
Date: Monday, September 22, 2014; Time: 4:00-5:00 p.m.; Location: M&M U115
Title: Instrumenting the Human Body
Richard B. Brown, Ph.D., Dean of Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City

Abstract: Advances in semiconductor technology are enabling research into, and treatment of, many human diseases. Prof. Brown will present a highly‐integrated, low‐power, wireless, mixed-signal microprocessor that was designed for implantable biomedical applications, and braincomputer interfaces that enable researchers to monitor electrical firing of individual neurons, local field potentials, and chemical signaling in the brain.

Biography: Prof. Brown earned the degrees BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from Brigham Young University. After working in industry for six years, he returned to school at the University of Utah and received the degree PhD in EE in 1985, developing one of the first “smart sensors,” an array of liquid chemical sensors with integrated electronics. Upon graduation, he joined the faculty of the University of Michigan, where he developed their VLSI program and conducted research on circuits (high‐speed, low‐power, high‐temperature, and radiation hard), microprocessors (high‐performance, low‐power, and mixed‐signal), sensors (for ions, heavy metals, and neurotransmitters), and brain‐machine interfaces. At Michigan he held an Arthur F. Thurnau Endowed Professorship. In 2004, he was appointed Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Utah, where he has continued to do research on circuits, mixed-signal microcontrollers and neural interfaces. Prof. Brown has been a founder with his students of Mobius Microsystems (all‐silicon clock generators), i‐SENS (glucose sensors), Sensicore (water chemistry sensors), and e‐SENS (chemical sensors). He holds 17 patents, has authored more than 225 peer‐reviewed publications, and graduated 30 PhD students.

Richard B. Brown, Ph.D., Dean of Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City presented a seminar at Michigan  Title: Instrumenting the Human Body; Shown here 2nd from left with Michigan Tech faculty, Paul Bergstrom, ECE Chair Daniel Fuhrmann and Saeid Nooshabadi
Richard B. Brown, Ph.D., Dean of Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City presented a seminar at Michigan Title: Instrumenting the Human Body; Shown here 2nd from left with Michigan Tech faculty, Paul Bergstrom, ECE Chair Daniel Fuhrmann and Saeid Nooshabadi

Michigan Tech/ECE Receives Mi-Light Photonics Scholarship Award

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering - Photonics Concentration
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering – Photonics Concentration

Mi-Light, the Michigan photonics industry cluster, announced the funding and award of $5,000 in scholarships to four in-state academic institutions. Baker College, Grand Valley State University, Michigan Technological University, and Northwestern Michigan College. Each college or university was allocated $1,250 to be awarded to students enrolled in photonics programs. For the complete press release see Manufacturing Engineering Magazine.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Tech will award one recipient the Mi-Light Photonics Scholarship in the amount of $1,250 during the 2014-2015 academic year. Eligible students must meet the basic requirements: Undergraduate student; Electrical Engineering major; currently or have previously completed course work in photonics; minimum GPA of 3.0; and demonstrated intent of continuing within the field. Students interested in applying for the scholarship must submit a cover letter detailing your background, experience, and interests in Photonics to Dr. Christopher Middlebrook at ctmiddle@mtu.edu. Deadline to apply is November 1, 2014.

See ECE Photonics more information regarding the ECE Department’s Photonics Concentration program.

About Mi-Light: Mi-Light is a non-profit organization serving Michigan’s photonics industry by bringing together professionals from companies, academia and organizations to mutually support and promote photonics-related business. For more on Mi-Light visit: www.mi-light.org.

MEDC Statement: Funds for this initiative were provided by the 21st Century Jobs Fund, a Michigan Strategic Fund program designed to accelerate the growth and diversification of Michigan’s economy. The MEDC, a public-private partnership between the state and local communities, provides administrative support for the 21st Century Jobs Fund. The MEDC markets Michigan and provides the tools and environment to drive job creation and investment. For more information on the 21st Century Jobs Fund initiative, visit www.MichiganAdvantage.org.For more on MEDC visit:  MichiganAdvantage.org.

 

 

ECE Academy, Class of 2014 Induction

ECE Academy, Class of 2014 inductees H. Paul Gay '70, Barry Van Veen '83, Michael Whitens '85, Lyman Morikawa '71
ECE Academy, Class of 2014 inductees H. Paul Gay ’70, Barry Van Veen ’83, Michael Whitens ’85, Lyman Morikawa ’71

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering welcomed five of its outstanding alumni to the ECE Academy, Class of 2014, at an induction ceremony held on Wednesday evening, August 6, in the Memorial Union Building Ballroom on the Michigan Tech campus. Inductees for the Class of 2014 are H. Paul Gay ’70, Lawrence Laurich ’65, Lyman Morikawa ’71, Barry Van Veen ’83, and Michael Whitens ’85. Mr. Laurich was unable to attend the ceremony due to illness and will be presented his induction plaque next week during a visit from Department Chair Dan Fuhrmann.

The inductees and guests also enjoyed a special message from guest speaker George Swenson, Jr. ’44. Dr. Swenson’s father was the founding chairman of the EE Department in 1928.

The purpose of the Academy is to honor outstanding graduates of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Technological University. Election to the Academy is made by the Executive Committee of the faculty, and recognizes excellence and leadership in the engineering profession and civic affairs. This induction honors some of the most successful of the over 8,800 ECE alumni of Michigan Tech. Portraits of the new Academy members will be added to the prominent display in the lobby of the EERC building, to inspire and motivate future generations of students in electrical and computer engineering.

For more information see ECE Academy.

 

ECE Anounces 2014 Department Awards

Maria Damiani, ECE 2014 Departmental Scholar

The 2014 ECE Department Awards banquet was held on Thursday, April 17, 2014 in the Memorial Union Building Ballroom on the Michigan Tech campus. The banquet is held each spring to honor ECE students and senior design and enterprise teams. It is also a time to recognize those who have gone above and beyond in their contributions to academics and the community. This year the ECE department was proud to present the following student awards.

- ECE Departmental Scholar: Maria Damiani

- ECE Woman of Promise: Myder Vang

- Carl J. Schjonberg Outstanding Undergraduate Student: Chen Li

- Jonathan Bara Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant: Marco La Manna

As part of the ECE’s External Advisory Committee (EAC) Spring 2014 agenda, the members observed the department’s senior design and enterprise team presentations and poster displays to select a team from each group that best meets or exceeds their specific criteria related to today’s industry needs. This year’s EAC Industry Innovation Award went to Senior Design Team 1 for their project “Transmission System Guidelines for Line Commutated Motor Starting” sponsored by American Transmission Company (ATC), advisor Trever Hassell. SD-1 team members: Connor Dziubinski, Jon Hohol, Andrew Martin, and Daniel Parent. Blue Marble Security team “Blood Typing Device”, sponsored by Dr. Adrienne Minerick, Chemical Engineering, advisor Dr. Glen Archer, was selected from the enterprise teams. BMS-1 team members: Korbin Bickel, Gerry Chan, Matthew Gruber, Eman Jazayeri, and Mike Switala.

For more details see ECE Student Awards.

For the second consecutive year, Prof. Kit Cischke was named Professor of the Year by the Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) Honor Society.

Myder Vang, ECE 2014 Woman of Promise
Chen Li, Carl J. Schjonberg Outstanding ECE Undergraduate Student
Marco La Manna, Jonathan Bara Outstanding ECE Graduate Teaching Assistant
EAC Industry Innovation Award: Senior Design Team 1: Connor Dziubinski, Jon Hohol, Andrew Martin, and Daniel Parent
EAC Industry Innovation Award: Blue Marble Security Team "Blood Typing Device": Korbin Bickel, Gerri Chan, Matthew Gruber, Eman Jazayeri, and Mike Switala
Prof. Kit Cischke, HKN Professor of the Year, presented by Adam Funkenbusch

Michigan Tech Students Head to Detroit for Alternative Spring Break

Students from the Michigan Tech National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) visited seven middle and high schools in Detroit over their Spring Break, March 11-14, 2014, to promote college and engineering to K-12 students. Two ECE students were in the team, Sam Adegun and Darlene Eppes. In the evenings, they conducted Family Engineering Night events at three K-8 schools. NSBE’s Alternative Spring Break is conducted in collaboration with the Detroit Public Schools Office of Science and the Detroit Math & Science Center, and funded in part, with a grant from John Deere.

WXYZ Channel 7 news in Detroit aired a feature story about an interview with Michigan Tech NSBE student chapter members in Detroit, working to motivate middle and high school students in Detroit schools to see college in their futures and to study science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Read More about Michigan Tech Students Head to Detroit for Alternative Spring Break

Michigan Tech NSBE students Family Engineering session at classroom in Detroit shown here in a photo from 2014

First Place Award for Graduate Poster to Kaitlyn Bunker

Kaitlyn Bunker, Electrical and Computer Engineering, First Place, Posters, presented by Howard Haselhuhn of GSG, High Dimension Droop Control for Wind Resources in DC Microgrids

The main events of this symposium were a Poster Presentation Session and a Research Colloquium sponsored
by the Graduate Student Government

There is a report for the Graduate Research Colloquium 2014 with photos and awards.

Kaitlyn Bunker, Electrical and Computer Engineering, First Place, Posters, presented by Howard Haselhuhn of GSG, High Dimension Droop Control for Wind Resources in DC Microgrids

Judy Donahue – Receives Faculty International Development Award

ECE Undergraduate Advisor Judy Donahue

Judy Donahue, an academic advisor for undergraduates in electrical and computer engineering, has been named the recipient of a Faculty International Development Award. The award–co-sponsored by the Provost’s Office, International Programs and Services (IPS) and USAC, a study-abroad provider–will enable Donahue to spend five weeks at a study-abroad site in Viterbo, Italy, next summer.

At Viterbo, Donahue will study Italian language and culture.

The aim of the award is to provide academic advisers with the opportunity to study abroad themselves, so that they can better advise students on the value of study-abroad experiences.

“I can’t think of a more deserving candidate to receive this award,” said IPS Director Thy Yang. “Judy has been one of our strongest champions for study abroad, and we trust that her experience will give her the first-hand knowledge she needs to do an even better job of convincing students of the value of gaining an overseas experience.

Yang said she also believes that Donahue’s time overseas will help her better understand the needs of Michigan Tech’s international students.

Associate Provost Christa Walck added: “One of our university student learning goals is global literacy and knowledge of human culture.” The best way to develop this literacy is study abroad, and relatively few Michigan Tech students do. Academic advisors are very important to encourage and guide students to take advantage of our many study-abroad opportunities. When Thy Yang told me about this opportunity for advisors, I was happy to support it. As a dedicated and enthusiastic advisor and a member of the Advising Council, Judy is so deserving of this opportunity to experience study abroad first-hand.”

As posted in Tech Today, 12/13/2013

http://www.admin.mtu.edu/urel/ttoday/email/?issue=20131213